10 ways leaders can ignite innovation

ignite innovation

Here is a short article I wrote for a Mexican Business Magazine that will be published in a few weeks.

What would happen if your company could innovate consistently? This is a worthy challenge, and, one not many can meet. But, if you have the will and drive, you will.

Innovation is the only source of new value. Yet, a lot of organizations struggle to come up with new products and services that delight their customers. There are many reasons for this, and leaders must understand that it isn’t easy either. Innovation requires courage, but most importantly, it requires drive.

Here are ten things you, as a leader, can do right now to ignite innovation in your organization:

  1. Walk the talk. Simply, set the example. If you want innovation, exemplify the behaviors you want to see from others.
  2. Ideas come from anywhere. As a leader, you don’t have all the answers. Let everyone else have a say.
  3. Swap jobs. Yes, ask people to swap jobs. This is a very effective tactic because you force people to adapt to new a situation.
  4. Be specific and focus on themes. People work better with constraints. The more specific the challenge, the more focused ideas people will come up with.
  5. Bring in outsiders. Where all think alike nobody thinks very much. A fresh approach comes from a new set of eyes.
  6. Collaborate with your customers. An emerging tactic where you can co-create products and services with your customers.
  7. Place little bets. Don’t be afraid to experiment and place little bets that tell you if the idea might or might not work.
  8. Reward failure. Create a Fail Better Award and give it to the person who took risks to get a new client of pushed forward on a new initiative.
  9. Acquire the skills. It isn’t enough to give people freedom to be creative, they also need skills and tools to be more effective innovators.
  10. Don’t be afraid to be great. Fortune favors the bold, have the courage to change.
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